For years, and for many generations of parents, spanking was the right thing to do in order to have disciplined and well behaved children. Even nowadays, many believe how this type of corporal punishment helps them teach their kids manners and use it even up to several times a month. Many parents settle on this discipline method simply because that’s how they were raised and somehow feel they should follow in their parents’ footsteps.
But, it turns out spanking is wrong on so many levels and does more damage than good, putting the kids at higher risk of inappropriate and violent behavior later in life.
According to the renowned researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and University of Michigan, the belief that spanking results with negative psychological effect on a child has been confirmed. This effect doesn’t fade away even years after it has been administered. The sad reality is that many moms and dads out there believe this to be effective and never think of the consequences it leaves on their kids.
Recently, an in depth study on this issue has been done and the results of the findings were published in the Journal of Family Psychology. The case study included approximately 160,000 children over a 50-year span. The authors of the study, Elizabeth Gershoff and Andrew Grogan Kaylor presented the outcome which said that now, as adults, the group of people that were spanked when they were young were more likely to exhibit anti-social behavior and suffer from health problems.
Actually, they believe that this form of disciplinary tactic has similar consequences as those at children who were victims of abuse.
“We as a society think of spanking and physical abuse as distinct behaviors. Yet our research shows that spanking is linked with the same negative child outcomes as abuse, just to a slightly lesser degree.”
Joan Durrant, a professor in the department of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba who has studied the effects of spanking for 30 years argues that “Children who are spanked are at greater risk of bullying others and using aggression as a way of solving problems and conflicts.” Parents are unaware that even if that helps teach their kids to behave for a short period of time, it will create in them aggression that lasts a lifetime.
According to another study of 2016 published in Zero to Three, in which parents who use this type of punishment were involved, 30% of them said how they feel bad for spanking their kids, and 77% believe it’s not an effective method of discipline.
This raises the question of why do people still do it when everything and everyone reasonable suggests it’s not the right thing to do.
Many parents would argue how they still do it because it helps them deal with their children without considering other types of punishment that are effective in a long term, such as taking away the kid’s privileges, rewarding their good behavior, have long talks, and allow for natural consequences.
Whether you are for or against spanking your children, you may hear parents say, “well, my parents spanked me and I turned out just fine, so why wouldn’t I use this as a method of discipline?”
One of the most vocal spanking advocates around is Christian-based Focus on the Family, an organization which was originally founded by psychologist James Dobson back in the seventies.
In an opinion piece written for Time in 2014, Focus on the Family’s director of counseling Dr. Jared Pingleton, explains that
“spanking [. . .] can be one effective option among several in a parent’s tool chest as they seek to steer their children away from negative behaviors.”
He says it should be done at the right time, however.
“Generally speaking, we advise parents that corporal discipline should only be applied in cases of willful disobedience or defiance of authority—never for mere childish irresponsibility.”
Dr. Diana Baumrind from the University of California, a psychologist who has made a career researching authoritative disciplining methods, says that spanking doesn’t have long-term effects.
According to the New York Times, in a 2001 talk given at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Baumrind stated that
“When parents are loving and firm and communicate well with the child, the children are exceptionally competent and well adjusted, whether or not their parents spanked them as preschoolers.”
Now that we caught your attention with this article, you may even want to do further research before you continue spanking your kids when they do something bad, as breaking things, or screaming in public.
Have you ever used this “old-fashioned” method of teaching your children a lesson? Or you believe in the power of “the talk?”
Below are the staggering results of the poll created by Tip Hero asking parents whether they support or oppose spanking.
Over half of those who answered said they are for spanking the kids. Are you surprised by the results?
Please share with us your opinion regarding the subject. We would be happy to hear your thoughts.